First-time buyers are wealthier and older
According to the 2015/16 data there are fewer very young (16- to 24-year-olds) and older (55 or over) first-time buyers compared with 10 and 20 years ago.
The results also showed that owning a home was becoming increasingly restricted to just the wealthiest people.
Two-thirds (66%) of first-time buyers came from the top 40% of earners, compared to just 58% a decade ago, while three-quarters were from dual income households (up from 66%).
UK Finance (previously the Council of Mortgage Lenders) noted that despite all of this, aspirations among those in the private rented sector have not been dented, as 59% of private renters expected to buy at some point in the future.
It said this proportion had remained stable since 2006/07. And was in-line with its own research.
Affordability is the chief concern among potential first-timers with 70% of private tenants who do not expect to buy citing this constraint.
And half of those (47%) who had considered applying for a mortgage but had not done so felt they did not have a large enough deposit.
UK Finance added that many of the demographic factors changing the characteristics of first-time buyers pre-dated the financial crisis and included:
- Strong inward migration into the UK since the late 1990s, especially among younger age groups;
- An ageing population, with the median age in the UK expected to increase by six years by 2080, and the share of over 65s to exceed a quarter of the population;
- Couples marrying later than in previous generations, and having children at an older age;
- And individuals remaining in higher education for longer and forming households at a later age.
There has also been a sustained and significant shortage of new properties being built underpinning these demographic changes during this time.